The winter is officially here. It’s cold out. It’s dark for far too long. This has gotten us dreaming about doing one of our favorite activities, traveling. When we travel, we don’t like to just go somewhere and relax, we like to explore the local area.
If you are just starting to plan your travel plans for the year, we are here to help! We have compiled a list of 6 of the best long weekend destinations. When we were coming up with our list, we took a few factors into play:
- Diversity of the activities offered in and around the destination
- The weather
- The scenery (and no, we aren’t thinking of just a good backdrop for some Neon Bandits pictures)
- The food; what would be a good getaway be without great food?
- A destination that you can get the most out of in a three or four day time period
With this in mind, here are our recommendations of 6 destinations to spend a long(ish) weekend at:
With picture perfect sunshine and no humidity, Arizona offers a great variety of outdoor activities. Once you are in the Valley of the Sun, you can either stick around the Phoenix / Scottsdale area and enjoy some nice hikes on the Camelback Mountain, hit the links for a round of golf and enjoy a great food scene or head out to Sedona. Sedona is about two hours from Phoenix, but feels like a world away with its picturesque red mountains. Explore the mountains by either going for a hike along the renowned Cathedral Rock hike or taking a “Pink Jeep” tour. The Pink Jeep tour will rock you from side to side as your Jeep traverses over rocky terrain providing a fun and exhilarating experience.
If you are looking to hop across the pond and blend exploring a city with the beach, head to Portugal. Plan on spending a day or two touring around Lisbon to check out the unique culture and architecture. The best way to see it all in a short time period is to take a tour with “We Hate Tourism.” This tour provider provides a fun, educational and adventurous tour of Lisbon and the surrounding areas. You will feel like you have seen it all after you have taken one of these tours. After you are done in Lisbon, hop on a train and head about three hours away to Faro which is located in the coastal region of the country (known as the Algarve). With so many activities to take in and sights to see, you can lay on the cliff-lined beaches, explore areas such Cape St. Vincent to see a lighthouse from the 1800s or find a local restaurant and enjoy the delicious local cuisine.
Florida’s southwest coast is home to Marco Island. With wide beaches and warm water, Marco Island is perfect for those looking for a beach getaway. However, you can tire yourself out before lying on the beach by exploring the local bike or running paths or doing yoga on the beach. If you are looking for an adventure on the water, book an exploration with Backwater Adventures. This action packed tour has you weaving between small islands and getting up close and personal to some Florida wildlife such as dolphins and manatees. The tour should build up your appetite and depending on what you are in the mood to eat, check out two of our favorite restaurants which are conveniently right next to each other in The Oyster Society (which serves primarily seafood and has some of the best cornbread that you will ever taste) and Da Vinci (an Italian restaurant with a great chicken parm).
Known for its skiing, Vail is much more than just a winter destination if you are thinking of a Spring getaway. Grab a bike and peddle through Vail village and the surrounding neighborhoods to explore the unique setting. Once you catch your breath, hop in the car and drive an hour to Glenwood Springs to hike Hanging Lake. While the hike features a steep incline, you will be rewarded at the top with a picturesque scene unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Take it from someone who has done it, pack prepared for all of the elements and be sure to plan ahead for the hike as you need to get a permit prior to the hike, which is done to control crowds on the relatively narrow hiking path. The permit includes transportation to and from the trailhead, which again is due to control the crowds; you cannot drive to the trailhead. After the long hike, grab some food and drinks at the Glenwood Canyon Brewery.
San Diego and LA get all of the attention in Southern California, but Dana Point, which is about halfway between the two is a great ocean-side town to explore. Take in the stunning views by going for a drive along the famous Route 1. Whether you head north or south on Route 1, you will run into many great coastal towns to explore, all a short distance from Dana Point. Huntington Beach and Catalina Island are two great towns to explore the local shops and eateries. If driving isn’t your thing, you can hop in a kayak and see it all from the water.
If you are looking for an adventure that’s a bit different check out Charleston, South Carolina. With that “Old Southern” charm and bright colors (and of course famous Pineapple water fountain pictured below), Charleston is brimming with great food, history and hospitality. If fried chicken is your thing, head to our friends at Leon’s (and be sure to grab a pair of some custom socks that we created). After you are done eating you may need to walk off the meal. Peruse the City Market to shop for local gifts or take a horse and buggy ride to explore the historic streets of Charleston from a unique vantage point. If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the streets, a short drive away from Charleston is the Isle of Palms. Here you will find an area that is a bit less crowded than Charleston and plenty of space to lay on the beach. Be sure to explore the neighborhoods right on the beach, as you will see gorgeous houses with unique architecture.
Ok you may need to wait a few months to make the most of your trip to Martha’s Vineyard, but we couldn’t leave it off this list. Located a short ferry ride off the coast of Cape Cod, this popular summer destination is the perfect place to rent a bike (steps after you land on the island) and explore. The 6 mile bike ride from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown hugs the ocean and will have you pass right over the famous Jaws Bridge. If you are looking for a thrill, jump right off the Jaws Bridge and into the ocean. Once in Edgartown, choose from a variety of local restaurants and breweries (including our friends at Bad Martha Brewing) while taking in the great small-town New England feel.
Ok, we don’t know about you, but putting this list together has made us want to go book our next long weekend adventure. As you can probably tell from our recommendations, we really don’t like to sit still for too long wherever we are. In fact, our “on-the-go” mindset was a big inspiration for Neon Bandits. We wanted to create a pair of socks that was durable, breathable and comfortable for situations like for example, traveling where you are on the move constantly.So before you book your trip, be sure to #grabapair (or two) of Neon Bandits to take along with you on your travels.